How To Spin The Golf Ball

Top 50 Coach Trey Niven discusses how to spin the golf ball and shares a handy drill

PGA pro Trey Niven hitting a chip shot at The Astbury Golf Club
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

The top pros make it look easy, don't they? Being able to play aggressive shots around the green and stop it close to the pin is a skill we'd all like to have. In the video and article below, PGA pro Trey Niven discusses the theory behind how to spin the golf ball and shares his simple short chipping tips that'll save you shots and help you lower your scores. 

First of all, it’s important to understand how spin is created. In the video, I’ve got a shot from about 20 yards and there’s a bit of a flat part near the flag, so it would be a good idea to use that as my landing spot and get the ball spinning. So, how is it done?

Spin loft is a term that’s used to reference the difference between the dynamic loft - the loft presented at impact - and also the angle of attack. The more you separate these two, the more you increase the spin loft and the more spin you generate.

However, there are a couple of things I typically see when golfers are around the green that makes this difficult. Typically, they try to hit down on the ball, which means setting up with the ball back in the stance and the weight forward. That encourages people to deloft the club and that’s when the leading edge can really dig into the ground. As a result, the ball will typically strike higher up the face, which is a spin killer.

PGA pro Trey Niven using a club and an alignment stick to demonstrate how to create spin when chipping

Increasing the difference between the angle of attack and the dynamic loft will help you create spin

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Instead, you want to make contact nearer the bottom of the club and keep more of the loft on. To do this, the set-up is vitally important. When it comes to the perfect ball position for creating spin, aim for the middle of your stance. From there, keep the shaft position neutral, avoiding the temptation to lean it excessively towards the target.

The next thing to say is that it's vital to make sure you clean your scoring clubs. Even the best wedges won't produce the desired results if the grooves are packed with dirt. 

A golfer cleaning the grooves on his wedge

If you want to generate spin, it's vital to keep your grooves clean

(Image credit: Howard Hoylan)

As for the motion, it should feel like you’re lighting a match through impact. If you drag the club slowly, you won’t create enough friction to get the action you want. Using your pivot, work on generating speed through the shot.

Put these pointers into practice and see if you are able to control the low point to strike the ball crisply. Done correctly, you will be clipping the ball off the surface and not taking much of a divot.

Tee peg drill

This drill will help you work on your low point control, and it’s very simple. Place a ball on a tee peg about an inch off the ground and try to hit some shots without moving the tee. If your weight is too far forward and your ball position is too far back, you’ll notice the tee moves and the ball just plods forward.

PGA pro Trey Niven hitting two chip shots

Clipping the ball off the tee will help you improve your low point control

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Instead, if you set up properly, with the ball in the middle of your stance, a neutral shaft position and the weight just slightly forward, you’ll find it easier to hit good chip shots while leaving the tee in the ground. 

It might take a few attempts to get the hang of it, but by mastering this drill you’ll be far better at controlling your low point and hitting the spinning chip shot.

Trey Niven
Top 50 Coach

Location: Shrewsbury Golf Club, 3 Hammers Golf Academy 

After enjoying a successful men’s amateur career, during which time he played for Shropshire and Herefordshire’s first team, Trey turned professional in 2018, and he now teaches from a number of locations in the Midlands. He enjoys coaching players of all abilities, from county players, to club golfers and beginners.

Significant influences:

Trey’s teaching has been influenced by Mike Granato and Shaun Webb, two coaches who have worked with a whole host of Tour professionals. The way that they are able to explain the swing and use data to help the average golfer is something that Trey brings to his own teaching.


Whilst Trey is enthusiastic about every aspect of the game, he’s particularly interested in what happens at impact to cause a certain ball flight. This may not always be a perfect looking golf swing, but one that that functions well and is repeatable. He’s always watching and learning from the best players in the world, identifying trends and looking at how that might help the players he teaches.

Teaching philosophy:

Trey is a strong believer in making your bad shot better. "Golf," he says, "is a game of misses as opposed to how good is your good shot." He’s also keen to see his students think for themselves and take ownership, and believes players who are successful own their own golf swing and make it work.



One of Trey’s goals is to increase participation in the game and to make the game more diverse. Trey runs initiatives as part of the Black British Golfers to showcase talent from and increase participation from unrepresented groups.